Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of Flowkey premium in order to review this product. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. You can read more about this here.
Flowkey is a useful tool for some pianists. I’ve written about Flowkey before and think that for a certain demographic of pianists or people who want to learn how to play the piano, it’s a valuable tool. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for some, it can help them tremendously.
However, one thing I have noticed is that Flowkey doesn’t exactly make their pricing structure too transparent. You actually have to sign up for a free account and then go to the option to upgrade to premium before you’re actually shown a price.
I don’t like this, so I’ve rounded up Flowkey’s current pricing structure so you can refer to it if you are on the fence about upgrading.
How much does Flowkey cost?
I am writing this at the end of December 2019. As such, Flowkey may change their pricing options at any point in the near future, so these prices are correct at the time of writing. I will of course endeavour to keep this list as up-to-date as possible.
Flowkey currently offers THREE paid pricing options.
Note that these payment options are offered in Euros, as Flowkey is a German company. If you’re not in the EU, you will need to convert this into your local currency and keep in mind that if you opt for either the monthly or twelve-monthly subscription, currency conversion rates may mean that the price you pay in your local currency next time may not be the same as this time.
To be honest this is a frustration for me, as I would prefer to pay in GBP, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who use Flowkey who would prefer to pay in USD or other major currencies. I think Flowkey need to sort this out, and hope they look into doing this in the near future.
How does this compare with a real teacher?
Now, as I’ve said in my Flowkey review, Flowkey does not compare to a real teacher. I think for any student at any level, a teacher will offer much more value than Flowkey will. There are just too many variables; for example, a teacher will be able to proactively correct mistakes, will be able to offer real-time feedback on your playing; all things Flowkey cannot do.
However, as I have mentioned, I recognise that not everybody can afford a teacher, and not everybody has the time to go to a teacher. Not everybody has a piano teacher living near them. Not everybody has high-speed internet to take advantage of an online teacher.
In these circumstances, Flowkey offers quite an attractive money-saving proposition. Even if you pick the most expensive option at €19.99 per month, this is still a huge saving compared to a teacher. You would pay at least that for one half hour lesson. Multiply that by four for one lesson per week. So with Flowkey, even the most expensive option is at least ¼ the price of a teacher.
The one thing that you will need with Flowkey is the determination and dedication to stick at it. With the ability to use it 24/7, and no teacher hounding you to practice on a weekly basis, it becomes very easy to put off your practice. Make sure you are disciplined and practice often. Otherwise, Flowkey just becomes another expense, at which point it becomes worse value for money than getting a teacher.
How does this compare with other music learning software?
In my experience, most of these music learning software packages are similar in price. You generally wouldn’t expect to pay any less than €/£/$9.99 per month for something like this. I think Flowkey is one of the more comprehensive apps available, but there are others, and some with pretty novel ideas about how to teach you how to play the piano, so it’s definitely worth shopping around to see which app you like best before committing.
Just bear in mind that the vast majority of these apps will eventually ask you to pay. Most offer free trials, but the idea of this is to test the waters and make sure the app is definitely for you before committing to a monthly/yearly subscription.
Are there any free piano apps available?
There are free piano apps available. However I would caution you to stay away from most “free” apps. Many of them have very basic functionality, and their ability to teach you how to play the piano is going to be severely limited. I can pretty confidently say that I don’t believe there’s a freeware app out there with the same or similar functionality as some of these paid learning apps, such as Flowkey, Yousician, Simply Piano, etc.
For me, this whole argument is about whether paying for an app like this is worth doing versus just biting the bullet and paying for a teacher. While I firmly believe that paying for a teacher is something everyone is going to have to do in the end if they’re serious about learning to play the piano, paid apps such as Yousician and Flowkey can act as a stopgap to ascertain your long-term interest in the piano.
Some exceptionally good advice given to me on more than one occasion; you get what you pay for.
Is Flowkey good for learning the piano?
I write about Flowkey’s merits and drawbacks in my full-length article review, which you can read here. However, to sum this up; yes, Flowkey is a useful tool for learning to play the piano. I believe it has merit.
It is not for everyone.
Flowkey will offer you the most value if you are either a total beginner or you have a limited knowledge of the piano based on past piano lessons. It will help you learn to play your favourite pieces if you struggle with learning sheet music. It can also help to introduce some good practice habits, and give you a decent background on certain musical concepts such as playing scales, improvising and reading sheet music.
However, if you are past the beginner stage, I struggle to see where Flowkey might offer much value to you. As far as I am concerned, as a former piano teacher myself, once someone has the basics down, and can sit at the piano properly, play basic pieces and scales and has a good grasp of the note names, it’s time for them to start learning to read music and progress through the grades. Flowkey won’t really help you to do this, and it’s my belief that you need a teacher.
If you’re already an intermediate/advanced student who is looking to move away from their current teacher for whatever reason, Flowkey will not help you. I would strongly suggest you look for a different piano teacher and stay away from any piano learning app.
That said, Flowkey has its’ merits, so if I’ve piqued your interest, sign up for a free trial today and test it out.
In the meantime, happy practicing!